Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcoming Wolves Back To California – A Rancher’s Perspective

My husband and I live on the Bar C R ranch in Petaluma, CA where we run 300 mother cows using predator friendly ranching methods. I am also an advisory board member of Project Coyote – a coalition of educators, scientists and predator-friendly ranchers who promote coexistence between people and wildlife. As someone who understands the importance and benefits that predators provide to both ranch lands and entire eco systems, I want to see the wolf recover in California.
Last week I spoke at a rally in Sacramento in support of maintaining federal protections for wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)- and against a proposal put forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves from the ESA. To delist wolves would be wrong in so many ways; these important canids are keystone species and necessary for the balance and health of wild creatures and wild places.  To delist would be unscientific, counter-productive, and financially wasteful.
As important apex predators, wolves need and deserve protection across their historical range. And as they try to expand into their former range, they run the gauntlet of misinformed management that results in their needless death. Wolves are unaware that they are crossing political boundaries where they will face ever-changing policies ranging from excessive killing to nearly full protection. If they are not consistently protected with sound conservation strategies now, how will delisting improve their peril?